MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the barangay elections set on the end of October this year, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he wants to abolish the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK, or Youth Councils) and the barangay (village) councilors.
The Davao del Norte representative said this is among the reasons why he wants to postpone the barangay elections.
“The problem with SK is if you will force them to work as SK, they will be discouraged to go to school, then. And if you force them to attend classes, they won’t play their part as the SK. So, they are being paid by the barangay without doing anything,” Alvarez said in Filipino on Saturday, August 27.
“It’s better to remove it since all sectors are represented. There’s a party list for the youth sector, so they are well-represented,” he added.
SK is the country’s youth council at the barangay level. Elections for the council, which happens every 3 years, have been put on hold prior to the 2013 barangay elections.
Former President Benigno Aquino III signed the SK Reform Act this January, which aims to curb corruption in the youth council. The law raises the age requirement for SK officials from 15-17 years old to 18-24 years old. It also requires them to undergo leadership training for good government practices and fiscal transparency.
Another major part of the legislation is its anti-dynasty provision that prohibits kin of incumbent officials up to the second level of affinity and consanguinity to hold a post in the SK.
No more kagawad
Like the SK, Alvarez said barangay kagawad (councilors) are also freeloaders in government.
“In reality, they are not working. Only barangay captains are working,” he said in Filipino.
The House leader said that councilors must be replaced with purok leaders. A purok is a cluster of 20 to 50 households.
“So bakit hindi natin i-institutionalize yung existence ng purok leaders? Barangay health workers for instance, pudpod na yung tsinelas nung mga iyan hindi makabili ng tsinelas dahil honorarium lang ang tinatanggap sa barangay. Let us put things in the proper order,” he said.
(Why not institutionalize the existence of purok leaders? Barangay health workers for instance, they have worn out slippers but they can’t buy new ones because they only receive honorarium from the barangay.)
Only elected officials, plus the barangay treasurer and secretary, receive a monthly salary from the government. (READ: Perks of barangay officials)
Alvarez earlier said that he wants to postpone the elections for two years to give way to President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointments, since the law bars it during an election period.
He also said last Thursday, August 25, that he wants to extend the terms of current barangay and SK officials to 5 years instead of just 3 years. – Rappler.com